INDIe has read with the greatest interest the European Parliament resolution on education in the digital era

Many of the issues discussed in the European Parliament resolution of 11 December 2018 on education in the digital era: challenges, opportunities and lessons for EU policy design, are very relevant to the INDIe vision, goals and expected results.

All text in italics below are excerpts from the resolution.

Firstly, the resolution starts with the acknowledgment that
"A (… ) digital skills are essential for the successful professional realisation and personal development of all citizens;"
They are clearly necessary for a citizen to interact with institutions in her everyday relations to society:
“D. (..) a basic knowledge of digital technologies is vital for completing essential administrative and everyday tasks;”
But they are much more than that, since they:
“F (..) offer people better opportunities to participate in the life of society, both today and in the future, facilitate information and cultural exchange, and give people a greater say in political decision-making”

However, while embracing the potential of digital technologies in societies and education in particular, it is necessary to be aware that

  • "(..) excessive use of technological and digital equipment, such as computers and tablets, can cause problems related to health and well-being, including sleep deprivation, a sedentary lifestyle and addiction;"
  • There is a real risk that, without appropriate policies, sectors of our society may suffer seriously from the digital transformation: "(…) students with disabilities, minority groups, migrant communities, early school leavers, the long-term unemployed and the elderly;"
  • "(..) citizens, in particular minors, are often unaware of the risks associated with the use of the internet and ICT tools, such as personal data breaches, pervasive end-user tracking and cybercrime; "

The European Parliament resolution then "underlines the potential of digital technologies to support a shift towards more learner-centred pedagogical approaches if incorporated into the learning process in a planned and purposeful way". It is particularly interesting that the resolution also

  • “acknowledges that(..) it is vital to maintain personal contact between students and teachers and to prioritise the well-being and healthy development of children and adult learners"
  • "stresses that while it is essential to increase learners’ basic and advanced digital skills, traditional and humanistic skills should nevertheless continue to be nurtured;"
  • "reiterates that such a transformation must continue to guarantee the right to personal fulfilment, strike the right balance between the relevant digital skills and life skills, and support individual resilience, critical thinking and innovation potential;"

It identifies as a crucial point the fact
"(…) that teachers and trainers should be at the core of the digital transformation and therefore require adequate initial preparation and continuous training, which must include modules on age- and development-oriented teaching practices;"
It seems particularly interesting to me that it
" insists that this training requires time and should not come as an extra task on top of their daily activities; highlights that, even more than the teaching of other basic skills, such as numeracy and literacy, digital skills teaching requires teachers to update their knowledge and skills on a continuous basis; argues, therefore, that teachers need suitable, flexible and high-quality continuous professional development that corresponds to their needs; "

A point that we, at INDIe, welcome specially, is that the European Parliament "calls on the Commission and the Member States to offer appropriate guidance on the legal application of exceptions to copyright law in the educational sphere and straightforward access to licences for public, non-profit-making establishments in formal and informal education"
Indeed, since one of the goals of INDIe is to boost the creation of open learning units, autonomously by teachers, intellectual property is a key concern that authors should be aware of and well trained.

Finally, even if a variety of topics, languages, and levels will be covered as a result of INDIe, several open learning units will support the teaching of English as Foreign Language, thus, in the line of the European Parliament stressing:
“28. (…) that the Member States should provide the support that educational institutions need in order to improve the digitalisation of languages in the EU; recommends that schools across the EU make use of digital technologies to increase the use of cross-border educational exchanges, through video conferences and virtual classrooms; stresses that schools across the EU could benefit from cross-border access to digital content;"